Job’s Wife Speaks

Inspired by the Georges de La Tour painting below, the following poem attempts to give an added voice to the expressive eloquence of Tour’s work by “unmuting” Job’s wife. As a character in the book of Job, his wife is not prominent but, perhaps, delivers the most bitter blow to Job. Through her, we hear the voice of Satan speaking most directly to Job when she asks,  “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). In the midst of his sufferings, I believe Job’s greatest challenge was to withstand this voice and choose to trust God.

Job Mocked by his Wife Georges de La Tour (17th c.)
Job Mocked by his Wife
Georges de La Tour (17th c.)

Job’s Wife Speaks

I didn’t sign up for this.
The ships lost at sea, drowning spices
Camels marauded, flocks lit into carrion husks
Children buried by an ill-wind where they danced
And my jewels? Bartered for funeral meats

I didn’t sign up for this.
Your endless complaints, the hollow sounds
Of jagged grief and friends’ scorn
Washing our rags, hiding my shame
From the maids that I once kicked out of doors

I didn’t sign up for this.
Your boils how they stink where they fester
Open wounds that run dry and break open again
The prayers that you whisper late into the night
While in the city they dance and they dine

I didn’t sign up for this.
The God that you serve has given you hell
So leave it, I tell you; curse Him and die!
Don’t live like a fool trusting Him with your life
When all He has given turns to ashes and dust

I didn’t sign up for this.
I heard you this morning sing like a lark, no,
A madman, of your God who will come to redeem
Who with your own eyes you will see Him at last
And for this you will wait though you’re slain

I didn’t sign up for this.
Did you hear?
I didn’t sign up for this.

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